Noam Elcott, Columbia University (NY) - "Dispositifs of the screen, circa 1929"
By the end of the 1920s, three distinct dispositifs for the screen came into focus: as a window on the world, as an enclosed object, and as a ghostly presence. These models looked back to early-modern genres/modes of painting and forward to the collapse of classical cinema, the rise of television, and emergence of video installations. For the interwar European avant-gardes, above all László Moholy-Nagy, the contours of these three distinct dispositifs were already visible, but they were not yet entrenched in industrial media infrastructures. This paper refuses to ontologize the screen but neither does it envision a screen freed from cultural and technological constraints. Instead, it interrogates a watershed moment in the screen’s perpetual evolution, one shaped by technology, industry, and art over the course of centuries.